Cardinals’ Kyler Murray knocks off the rust in a hurry in win over Bears

Dec 5, 2021, 11:39 AM | Updated: Dec 6, 2021, 8:22 am
Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray warms up before an NFL football game against the Chicago...

Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray warms up before an NFL football game against the Chicago Bears Sunday, Dec. 5, 2021, in Chicago. (AP Photo/David Banks)

(AP Photo/David Banks)

What rust?

Amid bad weather conditions, Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray didn’t waste much time settling into his first game back from injury in a 33-22 victory over the Chicago Bears on Sunday.

Finishing with 123 yards and four total touchdowns (two through the air and two on the ground) on 11-of-15 passing, Murray navigated Sunday’s wet weather with relative ease. He also set season marks in carries (10) and rushing yards (59).

“It felt good just to be out there moving around being myself, just playing the game I love to play with these guys,” Murray told reporters after the win. “It was fun, glad we got the win. It was great to be back.”

He didn’t have to wait long to make an impact.

Following a Jalen Thompson interception on the Bears’ first drive of the day, the offense was more than opportunistic, converting the turnover into points.

After making up for a sack and a holding call to start the drive, Murray connected with tight end Zach Ertz for nine yards to bring up a manageable fourth down try on Chicago’s 21-yard line.

The signal caller’s first look to his favorite target in Hopkins went about as good as it could have gone, with the duo linking up for a 21-yard touchdown strike to give Arizona its first lead of the afternoon. Entering play Sunday, head coach Kliff Kingsbury was pegged as the best fourth-down decision maker in the league by ESPN.

The score marks the eighth hookup for Murray and Hopkins in nine games played in 2021.

Murray wasn’t done there, either, turning yet another interception into points.

Following a Budda Baker interception, the second of the day for the safety unit, Murray needed just five plays to extend the Cardinals’ lead, scampering nine yards for his second touchdown of the day.

“When he’s feeling it like that and using those legs I think he’s the most dangerous weapon in the NFL,” head coach Kliff Kingsbury told Cardinals sideline reporter Paul Calvisi on 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station after the win. “We just got to get him back comfortable, get him back in a rhythm and gotta try to play at  a really high level the remainder of the season.”

Through Arizona’s first two drives, Murray went 2-for-3 for 30 yards and a passing touchdown to go along with 17 yards and a score on the ground.

He kept the momentum rolling in the second quarter.

Starting in their own territory for the first time all game, the Cardinals went back to work behind Murray and running back James Conner.

After kicking off the drive with a 21-yard run and a two-yard grab, Conner put up a highlight-reel grab to cap off the drive.

Staring at a third-and-two situation, Murray looked Conner’s way once more out of the backfield, with the running back making an impressive one-handed snag before turning upfield for the 23-yard score.

The touchdown marks No. 14 for Conner, good enough for second in the NFL behind only Indianapolis Colts rusher Jonathan Taylor.

“That’s gotta be SportsCenter play of the week, right? That was unbelievable, catches it one-handed, breaks a tackle and then goes for a touchdown. I had to run down there and give him a hug becuase that was insane. A third down, too,” Kingsbury said.

“He’s been just a godsend for us especially with Chase out, being able to shoulder the load offensively, he just keeps getting better and better.”

The three straight scoring drives helped give the Cardinals a 21-7 lead at the half.

From there, Arizona didn’t look back, doing enough to keep the game out of reach over the final 30 minutes of play. A two-yard touchdown run from Murray and a pair of Matt Prater field goals were all that was needed to take home the win.

“The O-line played great today, the run game was great, James was great, Eno was great. Everybody steps up when they need to and that’s the great thing about this team. So far I think we’re very versatile, can’t really put us in a box of what we can do. I feel like we got a lot of playmakers on all sides of the ball and that’s pretty much it,” Murray said.

Comments

Comment guidelines: No name-calling, personal attacks, profanity, or insults. Please keep the conversation civil and help us moderate comments by reporting abuse.
comments powered by Disqus

Arizona Cardinals

Cincinnati DL Myjai Sanders (21) during a college football game between the Tulsa Golden Hurricane ...
Arizona Sports

Arizona Cardinals sign rookie OLB Myjai Sanders to a 4-year deal

The Arizona Cardinals signed rookie outside linebacker Myjai Sanders to a four-year deal on Wednesday morning.
24 hours ago
(Arizona Sports/Tyler Drake)...
Wills Rice

ESPN’s Moody: Arizona RB Keaontay Ingram has ‘huge fantasy potential’

ESPN's Eric Moody said that since the backup RB position behind James Conner is open, Keaontay Ingram has potential fantasy football upside.
2 days ago
Arizona Cardinals' Trey McBride runs drills at the NFL football team's rookie minicamp, Friday, May...
Jake Anderson

Arizona Cardinals ink 2nd-round TE Trey McBride, 2 others to rookie deals

The Arizona Cardinals signed three of their 2022 NFL Draft picks to four-year contracts, the team announced on Tuesday.
2 days ago
ATLANTA, GA - DECEMBER 26: Jessie Lemonier #52 of the Detroit Lions celebrates a fumble recovery ag...
Wills Rice

Cardinals claim LB Jesse Lemonier off waivers, release DL LaRon Stokes

The Cardinals announced that the team has claimed LB Jesse Lemonier off waivers from the Lions and released DL LaRon Stokes.
2 days ago
(Photo by Kevin Abele/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)...
Arizona Sports

Arizona Cardinals donating 200,000 meals to United Food Bank

The Arizona Cardinals and Albertsons/Safeway are partnering to donate 200,000 meals to the United Food Bank.
2 days ago
Head coach Kliff Kingsbury of the Arizona Cardinals calls a play during the first half against the ...
Arizona Sports

Cardinals Corner podcast: Is Kliff Kingsbury ready for a gauntlet schedule?

Following last season's epic collapse to end the season, a lot of the focus and criticism shifted toward head coach Kliff Kingsbury.
2 days ago
Cardinals’ Kyler Murray knocks off the rust in a hurry in win over Bears